What are your personal plans for Labor Day, and what do you plan on cooking or grilling?
I’m going to be keeping it very simple. For me, it’s all about steak. I’ll be grilling up a massive tomahawk for my friends and family, maybe some burgers and dogs as well — but we’re keeping it simple. I’m going to have some fun and hang out.
A lot of people have friends and family over for Labor Day weekend; they’re feeding a crowd. What are your best tips when you’re grilling and need to feed a lot of people?
Burgers are the go-to. You can never go wrong with burgers and dogs. It is a little bit simpler, but I like to keep grilling simple in general.
If you are making burgers, my number one tip is to avoid seasoning too early. A lot of people like to season their burgers ahead of time and mix up the meat into a really dense patty, and that’s going to lead to a dense, firm, and chewy texture. For me, it’s all about … forming the patties as gently as possible and seasoning [them] right before cooking. When it comes to seasoning, my absolute favorite when it comes to burgers is McCormick Grill Mates Cracked Pepper & Garlic. You get that black pepper flavor as well as that garlic in there.
People tend to overcomplicate grilling, but if you stick to a few simple concepts, it doesn’t have to be complicated. One big tip is to not let your equipment hold you back. Some of the best steaks and food I’ve ever grilled are literally [grilled] right over a campfire, so you don’t necessarily need the biggest grill. You don’t necessarily need the most expensive grill. Work with what you have, and you will have incredible success.
Another one is to dry brine. All that is [is] seasoning your meat the day before cooking. This leads to huge benefits in terms of crust development and in terms of moisture retention. When it comes to dry brining, my absolute favorite seasoning is McCormick Grill Mates Coarse Black Pepper & Flake Salt — it’s a simple seasoning, but it hits all the notes.
Then … flip frequently. There’s this misconception that you should only flip one time, but if you’re cooking a steak or a chicken breast, feel free to flip frequently. It’s going to lead to more even cooking.
For someone who’s pretty new to grilling, would you tell them to stick with those burgers and dogs?
It’s a good place to start, but don’t let inexperience hold you back from experimenting. Stick with burgers and dogs, but also supplement it with something more exciting. A good steak is always a go-to.
Any time you’re buying a steak, my number one tip is to look for great marbling. You can find great deals at most supermarkets, but most importantly, look for steaks that have that intramuscular fat. It’s going to look like those little white flecks within the red meat. Find yourself a good steak with good marbling.
Keep it simple: Season it simply, with coarse black pepper and flake salt. Grill Mates, once again, is my favorite seasoning when it comes to steak. Yes — supplement those burgers and dogs with something like a steak.